They took away Brendan Steele’s putter. He lengthened his career
By Mark Whicker
PACIFIC PALISADES — It was the adopted child in a golf-bag family, the one thing that wasn’t like the others.
It was grotesquely long It fit snugly into the belly of golfers who don’t really have bellies.
For a while it was the most devastating sword in professional golf.
Then the anchored putter went away.
And golfers started falling on it.
“I wouldn’t have started using one if I’d known they would take it away,” Brendan Steele said at Riviera, practicing for the Genesis Open that begins Thursday.
So how did Steele replace his joystick?
“It was at Travelers,” he said, referring to the Hartford PGA Tour event. “I went to the short putter, shot 62 in my first round, and I finished fifth..”
Some habits can get kicked right out of the park.
Steele, 34, is the UC Riverside alum from Idyllwild who came into the pros with a baseball grip and made his first splash when he played alongside Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines in 2011 and beat him by five strokes.
He now has three wins on the tour. The second and third came at Napa in the first event of this season and last season, which ensures peace of mind.
Trophy No. 3 removes finance pressure for life, unless you’re investing with Madoff & Sons. It means you’re playing for identity, not money.
But all of that could have been sliced and diced if Steele hadn’t survived the amputation of the long putter.
He started using it in 2006 and, faced with a 2016 deadline, gave it up in 2014.
“I had nothing to lose,” Steele said. “I already had my tour status locked up for 2015. It came around at the right time.
“I was confident it would work out. After all, I’d had some bad weeks with the belly putter. It’s a totally different stroke, and if […]